“A school has issued a ‘full and unreserved’ apology to abuse victims of a disgraced former teacher and church deacon.
It follows the publication of an independent report into Alan Morris, which found ‘absolutely no evidence of a cover up’ over his offending.
Morris, a former deputy head and head of chemistry at St Ambrose College in Hale Barns, Altrincham, was convicted in August 2014 – at the age of 64 – of abusing boys between 1972 and 1990.
He was subsequently jailed for nine years.
Morris, of Rivington Road, Hale, was found guilty of 19 charges relating to 10 boys – 16 indecent assaults and three counts of inciting gross indecency with a child.
A further 28 offences involving 18 boys were also ordered to lie on file.
The court heard he kept a ‘bag of implements’ including a cane, leather strap and a wooden spoon and created a weapon dubbed the ‘paddywhacker’ and shaped like a table tennis bat.
Police said after his sentencing that he proclaimed himself as the school’s ‘chief policeman’ but in reality, he chastised pupils for his own sexual gratification.
The allegations for which he was charged first emerged in 2012.
The Congregation of Christian Brothers, a religious teaching order which ran the all-boys grammar school, instigated an independent investigation to look into allegations of ‘complicity’ in respect of individuals from the congregation and college surrounding Morris’ crimes.
The final report, published on Friday, said the review ‘found absolutely no evidence of a cover up either during the time that Alan Morris taught at the school or during his ministry as a deacon until 2012’.
The report did reveal concerns about Morris and corporal punishment were raised as far back as 1989, with other allegations also followed up in 2001, 2002 and 2006.
Governors, it ruled, ‘acted appropriately on information gained’ after a complaint in 1989 and took action against him.
The report concluded that the Christian Brothers, the school’s governors and the Diocese of Shrewsbury, the Catholic Diocese the school falls under, ‘acted appropriately to information known at any given time’.
No ‘concrete evidence’ was found that leaders within the church and college ‘were aware of the extent of the abuse by Alan Morris over a period of years or its sexual nature’.
The school now has academy status and is run by the St Ambrose College Edmund Rice Academy Trust.
In a statement, leaders said: “The college wishes to apologise fully and unreservedly to all of the victims of Mr Morris for the pain, stress and hurt that they have had to endure. As a community St Ambrose College was deeply saddened by the impact Alan Morris and his actions had on members of the College and our thoughts and prayers are and always will be with the innocent victims and their families.
“St Ambrose College and its staff are aware that the safeguarding of children is fundamental to its core daily activities.
“We recognise our responsibility to ensure all members of staff, volunteers and governors are suitable to work with our students and the college operates rigorous procedures to support this process.
“The college is keen to implement any recommendations from the report, which are not already addressed swiftly and effectively.”
The diocese said Morris was immediately withdrawn from active ministry as a deacon in 2012.”